Knowing how to effectively communicate with your coworkers is essential for ongoing success. Effective communication helps reduce misunderstandings, fosters a positive workplace vibe, encourages productive collaboration and helps prepare team members for challenging situations the company may experience. Here are five ways to communicate more effectively at work.
Be clear and concise
The fewer words you use to communicate, the better. Try to keep your written and verbal communications while at work as short and direct as possible. This is not the time to show off your high-level vocabulary. Use simple, clear language, avoid technical terms and keep it brief for more effective communication.
In our screen-addicted world, active listening is a lost art. Be the team member who is known to really listen and pay close attention to the message someone is sharing. When a coworker is talking to you, or you’re reading an email from a colleague, don’t do anything else. Try to hear them out without jumping in to offer your own solutions or an outrageous story that tops theirs. Listen, validate, ask clarifying questions and then respond.
Watch your body language
Effective communication isn’t only about what you say – it’s also how you say it. Your body language speaks volumes; when communicating with coworkers, make sure it’s sending the same message as your words. Avoid crossing your arms or tapping your foot. Both behaviors communicate impatience and an eagerness for the conversation to end. Make sure you’re facing the person you’re speaking with and maintain eye contact throughout the conversation. Try to relax your facial muscles so you don’t look angry or tense, even if you’re feeling particularly stressed at the time. Positive body language can help keep the conversation smooth and productive for everyone.
There’s an app for that
While there’s no tech that can replace a face-to-face conversation, a communication app can help team members share workplace updates and developments in real-time. Apps like Slack, Microsoft Teams, Asana and Google Hangouts offer features like chat rooms, video and audio calls, task management and more.
Upgrade your emails
Most people shoot out emails mindlessly throughout the workday. Follow these tips to ensure you’re hitting all the right bases with your online missives:
- Write descriptive subject lines. This will grab the attention of the recipient and let them know you aren’t wasting their time.
- Start with a great greeting. According to a survey from Perkbox, the most popular email greeting lines are “Hi,” “Hello” and “Good morning/afternoon”. The most annoying? Overly pompous greetings like “To Whom it May Concern”.
- Break up your text to make it more readable. Use bullet points, numbered lists and paragraph breaks to keep the text flowing.
- Don’t bury the lead. Make sure the most important point of your email isn’t buried at the end of a long paragraph the recipient may not even read.
- Sign off politely. End with a “Thanks” or “Have a great day”.
Effective communication makes the nine-to-five life smoother and more productive. Use these tips to improve your workplace communication.
Your Turn: Are you an effective communicator at work? Or are you still a work in progress. Share your best tips and experiences in the comments.